Sunday, February 10, 2008

Celebrity Grave Hunting, Episode 2

It's been more than a year since the last time we went celebrity grave hunting. It's one of those things that I really enjoy doing, but seldom find people who are actually willing to take the time to do it with me. So after crashing at Tom's & Christine's place in Burbank after Bean's birthday party, I decided to check out Forest Lawn Glendale.

Here lies Walt Disney. (02/10/2008)
Here lies Walt Disney. (02/10/2008)

Like the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills site we checked out last time, the Glendale property is definitely worth a visit. Even if you take the whole celebrity grave concept out of the picture, there is simply so much to see! The mosaics, the statues, the artwork, heck, there's even a full museum, complete with rotating exhibits and everything.

Spencer Tracy. (02/10/2008)
Spencer Tracy. (02/10/2008)

I started off at the Court of Freedom, where thanks to Find A Grave, I knew there were lots of good celebrity graves. One of the first I found was that of Walt Disney, who is buried in a family plot with his wife Lillian, daughter Sharon Disney Brown Lund, and Walt's son-in-law Robert B. Brown. I was surprised that it was as understated as it was. I was almost expecting a statue of some sort.

Here lies Larry Fine, one third of the Three Stooges. (02/10/2008)
Here lies Larry Fine, one third of the Three Stooges. (02/10/2008)

Next I popped inside the Freedom Mausoleum, where I saw such legends as George Burns & Gracie Allen, Nat King Cole, Alan Ladd, Jeanette MacDonald, Chico Marx of the Marx Bros., Larry Fine of the Three Stooges and Spencer Tracy. Not bad. I saw all of those and probably only spent about 10-15 minutes inside.

Gracie Allen & George Burns. (02/10/2008)
Gracie Allen & George Burns. (02/10/2008)

Next, I came across an exact reproduction of Michelangelo's David. Like the original, it stands 16 feet, 9 inches tall and was carved from a single piece of white Carrara marble. This is the second exact reproduction of Michelangelo's David I've seen in Southern California. The first was during our visit to the now-closed Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park. My next goal is to see the original David statue.

Exact reproduction of Michelangelo's David. (02/10/2008)
Exact reproduction of Michelangelo's David. (02/10/2008)

Although the David statue was cool, there were few accessible celebrities in the area, so I moved on to the Hall of the Crucifixion-Resurrection. This building was constructed in 1951 to display a painting of the crucifixion, which I kid you not, was singularly the largest painting I have ever seen in my entire life. Painted by the renowned Polish artist Jan Styka, The Crucifixion stands 195 feet long and 45 feet high. Yet it's not just the size that makes it impressive, it's the detail.

Hall of the Crucifixion/Resurrection. (02/10/2008)
Hall of the Crucifixion/Resurrection. (02/10/2008)

I couldn't take pictures inside the Hall of the Crucifixion-Resurrection, but even if I could, it would not capture the monumental scale of the painting. The guard was telling me that normally, another painting, The Resurrection, rolls in front of the crucifixion. At the moment, that process was not functioning however. He suggested to come back at a later time, which I certainly intend to do. Another notable feature: The view of Glendale from the Hall of Crucifixion-Resurrection is spectacular.

Great view of Glendale, CA. (02/10/2008)
Great view of Glendale, CA. (02/10/2008)

Next stop, the Forest Lawn Museum and Gift Shop. Yes, this cemetery has a museum and gift shop. And believe it or not, it's very worthwhile! I spent an hour there, and could have stayed there longer. I was about to head home when the guard recommended that I check out the Last Supper Window/Memorial Terrace, which houses an exact replica of Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper painting, but in 100% stained glass.

The entrance to the Great Mausoleum. (02/10/2008)
The entrance to the Great Mausoleum. (02/10/2008)

It was magnificent. It was crafted in Italy by Rosa Caselli Moretti using Leonardo Da Vinci's own sketches. The And it wasn't just a stained glass window, either. It was a complete show, with story narration and an unveiling. It was a little Disneylandish, but since I love Disneyland, I loved this.

Clark Gable. (02/10/2008)
Clark Gable. (02/10/2008)

While I was in there, I also visited the graves of Clark Gable and wife Carole Lombard Gable, who were interred side-by-side in the attached mausoleum wing. I looked for a few others but couldn't find many more before the guard came by and politely told me I wasn't supposed to be wandering around after the Last Supper show.

The front of the Wee Kirk o' the Heather Church. (02/10/2008)
The front of the Wee Kirk o' the Heather Church. (02/10/2008)

I also made an attempt to find Jimmy Stewart, who is buried near a replica of the Wee Kirk o' the Heather chapel. This chapel is modeled after the village church at Glencairn, Scotland, where Annie Laurie of Scottish lore worshipped. It was pretty cool on the inside and outside, although I never did find Jimmy Stewart.

2 comments:

beastandbean said...

Oh my God...that sounds like a lot of fun! Ginger and I found Jimmy Stewart's grave one time...kind of hard to locate as it's up a hill a bit. But have never seen the Gable's graves...that is super cool!

I wanna go next time!

Ginger said...

Ummm...hello...that must have been your OTHER friend named Ginger, because I sure as heck would have remembered seeing Jimmy Stewart's grave... :-(

I've actually never visited any of the grave sites since you guys moved down there.We have talked about it, but never have done it. Would be cool to see Jimmy's Stewart's final resting place.